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The Accidental ‘Baseball Guy’: Paul Seiler ’86

The Accidental ‘Baseball Guy’: Paul Seiler ’86
Paul Seiler ‘86, center, executive director/CEO of USA Baseball, celebrates Team USA’s first-ever World Baseball Classic win with Kansas City Royals Eric Hosmer, left, and Danny Duffy.

The executive director/CEO of USA Baseball, once a biology major, is grateful for his second passion.

When the USA faced Puerto Rico during the World Baseball Classic (WBC) championship game this past spring, Paul Seiler ’86 was on the edge of his seat. Seiler, executive director/ CEO of USA Baseball, had watched the national team reach the gold-medal game by defeating two-time champion Japan, and with one more win, the USA would clinch its first-ever WBC trophy. Nine innings later, an 8-0 victory did just that.

“It was so great to see the guys represent our country — and do it with pride and dignity,” said Seiler, who heads the organization that selects the members of Team USA for international competitions across all age brackets, including the WBC and the Olympic Games. “They really came together, accepted their specific roles and supported each other. It was great to watch.”

A career in baseball wasn’t exactly where the Trenton, New Jersey, native saw himself heading. In fact, he wasn’t even particularly a fan of the sport. Soccer was Seiler’s passion growing up, and he was skilled on the pitch: He walked onto the Scranton JV team as a freshman and served as varsity captain during his senior year. (Seiler still plays in an indoor league near his Cary, North Carolina, home.) “My time at Scranton, and particularly the environment former men’s soccer coach Steve Klingman created with a nationally recognized program, will always be a sport highlight for me,” Seiler said.

He chalked up his unlikely baseball career, and the resulting appreciation of the sport, to being in the right place at the right time.

“My mother was a career nurse, and my father was in sales,” Seiler said. “I grew up with a medical environment in the house. It was a big part of the DNA of our family, and I thought I was going to work in that field.”

Seiler enrolled at Scranton with that goal in mind, but, as he progressed through the curriculum, he realized he needed to change plans. “Organic chemistry basically told me I wasn’t going to be a doctor,” he said with a laugh.

After earning a biology degree, Seiler returned home, figuring he would pursue a job in pharmaceutical sales. His father asked if he would be interested in a quick job, driving the then-CEO of USA Baseball, Dick Case, to a meeting in Philadelphia. Seiler made a good impression that day, and Case hired him for an entry-level position a few years later. He’s been there ever since, assuming the top leadership role in 2000.

Seiler is thankful that his job has afforded him the chance to travel the world, from regular trips to Cuba in support of a longstanding series of games between the two nations, to Japan and Korea and to multiple Olympic Games. He also has another reason to thank the sport — he met his wife, Wendi, while on a trip to pick the Junior National Team, and they now have two children, high school students Braden and Abby.

And though he might not have started out with a lifelong appreciation of baseball, the community has embraced him as one of its own. “One of the highest compliments I’ve received is, ‘You’re a baseball guy.’ Our industry doesn’t throw that term around freely,” he said. “At the end of the day, this sport is my life, and vice versa."

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